Planks developing a ridge, lengthwise

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Q: 11 Months ago I had an engineered hardwood floor installed in a high rise condo. After 3-4 months I noted each plank developing a ridge lengthwise, and today it is quite pronounced. It can be felt underfoot. I have called the manufacturer. The rep came and did tests. He said it may be from the air being too dry although my barometer said 30%. I have a humidifier, but do not have it on now. The problem is worsening although rep said it will be better in summer, but not so far. The manufacturer rep said he would get back to me, but it has been over a month so I doubt it. The installer has referred to manufacturer. What can I do as I do not want a floor with these ridges and warranty is out end of June?

A: If by ridges you mean the edges of the boards are lifted up, I would say this sounds like cupping, and is not caused by dryness, but excessive moisture. You don’t have anything leaking, do you?

Follow-up Q: I am in a 1300 sq. ft. condo on the 23rd floor. I had 1000 sq. feet installed. It is not in the kitchen, bathrooms or laundry area.

I noticed the floors last fall and over winter it has progressed to worsen. It continues to do so. Right now it is noticeable even in my walk-in closet.

Nothing is leaking. My furniture is not suffering from any dryness or moisture.

What am I to do?

The rep from the manufacturer came and did some tests over a month ago now. He said he would get back to me in a couple of weeks! He said, as he left, that this will right itself by May 24th as that the summer humidity will put it right. He said the air was too dry, in spite of my humidifier (and the reading was 30%.)

It has been humid as we do not have the air conditioning on until May 31st– building policy. Some law states the heat must stay on until May 15th, but of course, it is shut off in my unit. We have individual controls.

I look forward to your comments and advice. I did not mention the company, but it is a large well known manufacturer of hardwood floors.

A: Are there any gaps developing between boards?

Second Follow-up Q: No there are no gaps, thank goodness. Just the rising ridges lengthwise. The widths remain nice and smooth as when they were when laid. Just in the light and the shadows, all one can see are the ridges, and not the beauty of the fine wood floor any more.

A: I would have to put this down to swelling of the board, and possibly a lack of expansion space along the walls. That is my guess. I’ve never heard anyone try to pass this off as being caused by too low moisture content. If that were the case, the boards would shrink, and you would have gaps.

Third Follow-up Q: Can you tell me the best avenue to take to resolve this? Is there an outside body/regulators, or an arbitrator, to come to some kind of solution? I would like to contact them if the company and the installer will not do anything further.

A: First, I would go to a web site, such as www.woodfloorsonline.com or any other that answers questions. Find their answer as to why edges of boards curl upward, which will verify that it is not caused by lack of moisture. If the company is a member of the BBB, they will serve as an arbitrator when a dispute arises. They recently contacted me about becoming a member and I rather liked that aspect myself.

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